Antiques and Art Dealers


Exploring this Job

To explore this field further, you may want to start by visiting an antique store or art gallery. If you see valuable treasures as opposed to dull paintings, old furniture, outdated books, or dusty collectibles, then chances are this is the job for you.

You can also tune to an episode of public television's traveling antique show, Antiques Roadshow, where people are encouraged to bring family treasures or rummage sale bargains for appraisal by antique industry experts.

The Art Dealers Association of America offers a Collectors' Guide that provides a useful introduction to the work of art dealers and the innerworkings of the art world. Visit to read the guide.

The Job

The antiques business is never boring. Antique and art dealers spend much of their workday greeting customers and answering any questions they may have. When business slows down, they clean the store and price inventory. Sometimes people will bring in items for resale. It is up to the dealer to carefully inspect each piece and settle on a price. They rely on pricing manuals such as Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide and Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide, which give guidelines and a suggested price on a wide range of items.

Antiques dealers also go on a number of shopping expeditions each year to restock their store. Besides rummage sales and auctions, they rely on buying trips to different parts of the country and abroad to find regional items, and at times a dealer may be invited to a person's home to view items for sale.

Some dealers participate in several shows a year, in order to reach customers that normally would not travel to the store's location. They may also promote their business through their Web site and social media, advertising in local travel brochures and newspapers, and by direct mail campaigns. The schedule can be grueling. Stores are often open six or seven days a week. But the rewards are satisfying. Dealers love not only the social aspect, interacting with all sorts of people and situations, but also having the first choice of items for their personal collections.